ANAHEIM : They Mean Business at Career Day

A police helicopter and SWAT team members were at Crescent Intermediate School on Friday, along with the Fire Department's paramedics and hazardous-materials team, the mayor, a television news crew and a Ralphs grocery store manager.

A Ralphs manager?

All took part in the fourth-through-sixth-grade school's annual career day, showcasing 23 jobs from the glamorous to the ordinary, including Olympic athlete, actor, attorney, engineer, flight attendant, sales clerk and interior decorator.

The children selected six careers or jobs they would like to learn about and spent 40 minutes with each presenter.

"We are trying to give the children exposure to widely different careers so that that they'll be excited and enthused about all of the different things they can do," said Sharon Grindstaff, the parent volunteer who organized the day.

Two themes ran through many of the speeches: Never slough off a class because you find it difficult or boring, for you might need that knowledge later, and no matter how much you enjoy your job, it's still work requiring dedicated effort to succeed.

"When I was in sixth grade, I never would have thought I would work in a grocery store," said Marty Griebe, an Anaheim Ralphs manager. "With children this age, I'm just trying to tell them that working in a grocery store might be a way to pay for college, and after they graduate, there are a lot more jobs available than just bagger or clerk."

Out on the playground, Anaheim police helicopter pilot Paul Dohmann had landed his aircraft and was explaining to a group of children how helicopters work and the training he has had. He answered questions such as whether he can shoot people from the helicopter and did he fly over the Los Angeles riots. (The answer was 'no' to both).

He said that while few children grow up to be police pilots, it's good that they see police officers as people.

"Particularly with all that was going on last week, it's good for the kids to know they can talk to me," Dohmann said. "People see us up there, but how often do they get a chance to be close to us?"

Candy Johnnie, a Rockwell International engineer, told the class that while Hollywood may never make a television series about her profession, engineers have a part in designing every product, get paid well for doing it, and that women can do the work as well as men.

"A lot of kids are afraid of math and science, so they try easier ways to make a living," she said. "But if one student today five years from now sticks with a tough science or math class because of what they heard today, it will be worth it."

Toward the end of the day, the children said they had learned things about professions that they never realized.

Scott Murray, 9, said he plans to be a police officer, and was impressed by Dohmann's adventures.

Erik Kurtz, a 9-year-old fourth-grader, said he was surprised that there are so many jobs at the supermarket.

"And they train you," he said.

Jennifer Monson, 9, said she was astonished to learn that attorneys have to understand science and medicine if they are going to take cases involving accidents and doctors.

"I just thought they stood there and settled their cases," the fourth-grader said.

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